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Preparedness - Introduction

Emergency Preparedness Key to Survival.

Craig

"God is our refuge and strength - a very present help in time of trouble."

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Most of us prepare for emergencies in one way or another. The multiple kinds of insurance we buy are an example. We also have retirement plans. We carry spare tires in our cars. We have back-up servers in our businesses. The law even mandates battery backup exit signs and fire extinguishers in public buildings. We practice fire drills and install smoke and CO detectors. Obviously proper preparedness saves lives. It lessens difficulty. On the other hand, lack of preparedness increases the difficulty in the case of emergency and may even cost lives. So perhaps a better question than "are you prepared", would be "for what are you not prepared? And for what do you need to be prepared? The higher the likelihood of a particular emergency in the future, the more urgently we need to prepare for it ahead of time. The better the preparation, the less will be the difficulty and pain.

   The government strongly encourages preparedness at sites like Ready.gov. Private organizations like Equipped to Survive Foundation do too. Equipped.org 

Why? by Jeremiah

Dad reading bible

Dad reading bible

In the following preparedness pages we write about some of our preparations. Here, I would like to just look at the question: Why prepare for emergencies? Being in the center of God's will places you in the safest possible situation. Conversely the most dangerous position would be outside of His will. So, why do we need to prepare for uncertain emergencies? I think this question is very important; one that every head of a household should prayerfully consider.

Our family has several reasons why we prepare for emergencies. While I could just reply "why not", I think we can come up with a better answer. I believe that I have a biblical mandate to take care of my family. This includes preparing for the future. It also includes protecting my family.

Prov 22:3 "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished."

I Timothy 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

Matthew 24:43-44 "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

Nathanael in cave

Nathanael in cave

We have also experienced many benefits from being prepared. Some are more obvious than others. The better we prepare ahead of time, the less trouble we will have in an emergency. Can we just ignore preparation? Yes, for many things we can. However the amount of preparation we do has a direct impact on the amount of discomfort we will experience when there is an emergency. But this is not just comfort. Our lives and health will depend on what we do and what we have done. Preparation also has a way of dispelling fear. Since fear is one thing most of us neither enjoy nor want, it only makes sense to prepare. Resourcefulness and creativity will still be needed. We will never be prepared for everything. The preparations that we have can help make things tolerable and even pleasant, as well as lengthen our lives.

So what is emergency preparedness? by Nathanael

Nathanael and Caleb exercizing

Nathanael and Caleb exercizing

Emergency preparedness involves backup systems. When a basic necessity fails, life can become difficult or impossible. Taking some precautions can keep some emergencies from arising in the first place. Here are some preparations our family has made.

Fundamentals

There are some things, which are really needed in all areas of life. In an emergency they are absolutely foundational. First, I believe that our mindset is the core of preparedness. Choosing success rather than failure will change our perspective on what happens around us. Our way of thinking affects our actions and their results. Second, investing in good health consistently pays good dividends. Health and fitness have a compounding affect, positive or negative, on our ability to survive and respond. And third, How we apply Christianity is the most critical. To have success in life there is one course; we need to know and obey God's will for us. Since we aim for success in making preparations, we need God's will. As the source of true peace and true wisdom, we certainly want to rely on God totally in an emergency. However, unless we rely on Him now, we won't then. So, we need God, we need a positive mindset, and we need health and fitness.

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Basic

For basic home preparedness we target the provision of basic necessities. When our usual systems fail, we need a backup. Most of our needs depend on electricity. So power outage is our main target. When any one necessity or appliance fails, these preparations are obviously practical. Also basic to home preparedness are some safety precautions. Preparations to maintain our shelter rounds out our home preparedness.

When we are away from home we are much more vulnerable. The skills and habits we learned ahead of time are our primary defense. If we are in a vehicle, the supplies we have in it will be at our disposal. These could easily save lives. For example, winter travel in North Dakota requires insulation in case of auto breakdown. Our individual skills are similar. In another area it would be very unwise to lack self-defense skills. And a good measure of situational awareness is valuable everywhere. Of course preparing for certainties first is wise. Later, move through less likely scenarios.

Advanced

Preparing for long emergencies is a case of dealing with less likely scenarios. Long emergencies have significant potential to be more dangerous than short ones. That gives long-term preparations value. Most large emergencies are dangerous in the same ways. Thus they require similar preparations. That's a big advantage. Usually they involve the long-term failure of the systems which provide our basic needs. Doing without electricity for a day wouldn't be too bad, but what about a week? or longer? Many such emergencies will also close stores. Long-term home preparations are mainly additional equipment and supplies.  These preparations deal with both survival and with convenience.

Family hike

Family hike

Evacuation

There is the possibility that we will not be able to stay at home in an emergency. If we must evacuate we will only be able to take what we can carry, so only most basic needs are covered. We may need to provide basic necessities for a long time. Although these preparations aren't very usable at other times, an evacuation is a most dangerous kind of emergency. That's why we have taken it on. In most emergencies we probably won't have to provide all our basic needs. Without knowing which we might need, we try to prepare for all of them to some degree. To do this we have accumulated camping equipment, which we keep ready in backpacks. By camping out, we practice survival skills while spending time together as a family. Actually we have made this preparedness a fun activity.

Suburban with tools

Suburban with tools

So, there are a number of preparations we can make for emergencies. Earlier we asked the question - for what are you not prepared? We do not address here wars, or riots, or nuclear disasters. While most of the preparations described here may prove useful in those situations, that is beyond the scope of this discussions. What we are concerned about are things which are relatively likely: extreme weather, electrical failure, lack of access to grocery stores, vehicle failure, various accidents, etc. Our lives depend on certain basic necessities. What if they were interrupted? What if your town were quarantined? What if you were evacuated? Prior planning and backup systems have their uses, now and in emergencies. Taking precautions can keep some emergencies from materializing in the first place. These preparations and precautions involve some supplies to prepare, some skills to learn and some habits to cultivate.

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Over the years our ideas about preparedness have changed. We have acquired more information and skills. And our ability to prepare has changed. This wasn't so much because of changing situations, but rather as our family grew. Our preparedness plan is still changing. Describing the current state of this fluctuating plan will prove a little difficult. I pray that the presentation is not too confusing. In the pages that follow we will try to portray important steps our family took to prepare for emergencies. Just because the Stovers do something does not make it right for you, or for anyone else. No two families are the same; nor will they have the same preparations. I only hope to make you think about your plans, and give you some ideas.


Copyright © 2006 The Stover Family - all rights reserved.


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